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Protests planned for Monday against “free trade” Agreement

3 December 2010

Media Release:

Protests planned for Monday against so-called “free trade” agreement

Global Peace and Justice Auckland is coordinating protest action in Auckland next week against negotiations for a proposed TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement).

Negotiations among eight countries (New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, US, Australia, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam) begin in Auckland on Monday.

Protests will take place at the SKYCITY Convention Centre in Federal Street in central Auckland at 8.30am (the beginning of the conference) and then at 5.30pm at the Viaduct where a reception is being held.

The TPPA is being touted as an Asian/Pacific free-trade agreement but rather than helping New Zealand trade with the world it is effectively a bill of rights for transnational corporations to plunder our economy.

The proposals being discussed would extend rights and privileges to foreign investors while marginalising a democratically elected New Zealand government’s right to manage and regulate our economy. It could hamstring legislation in areas such as employment policy, climate change, the environment, food labeling and drug purchases. In any of these areas a foreign corporation could demand our government remove regulations which could restrict the foreign investor’s profit. If we refused New Zealand could be sued by the foreign corporation and New Zealand taxpayers required to pay compensation.

Provisions such as this are already included in NAFTA (North American Free trade agreement) which is being used as the model for a proposed TPPA.

We are transferring the power of democratically elected government ND Transferring these rights to private corporations.

Likely effects of the agreement on New Zealand will be –
• big increases in the price of medicine as Pharmac (which buys medicine in bulk for our health services) is undermined and abandoned on behalf of US pharmaceutical companies
• the loss of the local content provision in radio and television broadcasting
• weakening our already pathetic controls on foreign investment
• less regulation for finance companies
• more foreign control of the New Zealand economy
• preventing our government from regulating to protect the environment

The goal for New Zealand in all free trade agreements has been to gain access to foreign markets for New Zealand agricultural produce. This is a fantasy which will not occur through a TPPA in any meaningful manner.

Protests Monday 6th December: 8.30am, SKYCITY Convention Centre, Federal Street, Auckland and 5.30pm, Voyager Maritime Museum, Corner Quay and Hobson Streets, Auckland Viaduct Basin

ENDS

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